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Robert “Bob” George Kathan

September 1, 2022 | 12 comments

On Sunday, August 28, 2022, Robert “Bob” George Kathan was released from the cruel grip of Alzheimer’s disease.  Bob’s amazing life of 92 years will be celebrated in a private family gathering, just as Bob requested.  He was straightforward and to the point in life and in death.

Bob was a devoted son, husband, father, and grandfather.  He proudly served in the United States Navy as a Seabee, whose motto is “Can Do!”.  Bob lived by this motto.  No problem was insurmountable; he always found a creative solution.

Bob is impossible to fully capture in words, but here are some that   tell you who he was.  Bob was dedicated in everything he did, intelligent, curious, always learning, hardworking, dependable, generous, and, yes, a bit stubborn.  He was an artist, an architect, a builder, businessman, wood carver, gardener, voracious reader, math word story problem solver, and a true steward of the land and nature.  He planted and lovingly tended a gigantic garden every single year until his knees would no longer cooperate.

For 22 years, Bob played a major role in the yearly La Crosse Octoberfest Medallion Hunt.  He also was known as The Forest Festmaster in his unforgettable bear costume and drivable birch log he constructed from our riding lawn mower.

Bob had a very unique sense of humor.  He loved jokes, especially the ribald ones, and told these jokes with a mischievous grin and a twinkle in his eye.

Bob loved morning coffee, breakfast, a brandy old fashioned sweet, Pinot noir wine with dinner, music (especially jazz), and all things mechanical.  Bob loved traveling, especially to Washington, DC and Cocoa Beach, Florida to visit his kids.  Our family trip to Paris was unforgettable.

More than anything, though, Bob loved his family.  His family was his everything.

Bob truly lived the meaning of carpe diem “seize the day.”  Indeed, he seized every moment of every day.  Each day with Bob was an adventure.  Our lives will not be the same without Bob.

There are many people who made Bob’s final years beautiful and dignified and cared for him with incredible tenderness.  With tremendous gratitude and love, we thank the La Crescent Ladies (aka Team Gasper), the La Crosse County Aging and Disability Resource Center, Inclusa, Traditions of La Crescent, and Mayo Clinic Hospice.

If you would like to make a memorial gift in honor of Bob, please consider Minnesota Public Radio at MPR.org or Mississippi Valley Conservancy at Mississippivalleyconservancy.org.

         Bob, we miss you and love you forever.  Sayonara.  —Your family



  1. Jamie Burns

    Lois, Ann, Buck and family, Bob will be missed by so many. I know that he will hold a very special place in my heart. I will miss his humor and his can do attitude. I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to have advocated and cared for Bob for the 4 years that I was at Traditions, thank you for that. Sending you love, hugs and light during this time. Love Jamie Burns

  2. Krystal Plank

    Lois,Buck,Ann and family. Bob will be missed but never forgotten. He holds a special place in my heart. I loved taking care of him during my time at Traditions. He always had us laughing and smiling.

    • Nancy Hill

      Love and condolences to his amazing family.
      He leaves us with so many memories and smiles. He leaves such a legacy.

  3. Dennis Furlong

    One more word to describe Bob… “friendly” . Rest in peace.

  4. Dorothy Johnson

    I always enjoyed visiting with Bob at the mailbox when I was their rural carrier. My condolences to Lois and the family.

  5. Linda Kohls

    Lois and family, I was very sorry to hear about your loss of Bob. My heart going out to you all. I can see he will be terribly missed and remembered by anyone who knew him. Sincerely, Linda Kohls

  6. Charles Rudrud

    So sad to hear about Bob. We sure enjoyed our times we have spent with Bob and his wonderful family. He had so many talents and was a lot of fun. He will be missed. Peace and love to you Lois and the family♥️🙏🙏 Love Linda and Chico

  7. Jim & Sheryle Schmeling

    Lois and Family:
    May Bob rest in peace..

    We will always remember Bob for being witty and down to earth. He was a huge promoter to our youth basketball program in Holmen and provided the nice uniforms for the team in the mid/late 80’s as the Blue Crew. All the trips we made following the team and nights in motels talking politics and other not important subjects was fun.

  8. Jerry and Carol Vacek

    Lois and family
    So sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. So many memories from the kid’s school years. Always grateful for the generosity of providing the boys with uniforms. Can see the eye twinkle when thinking of him. The whole family sends thoughts and prayers.
    Jerry and Carol Vacek and gang

  9. Jan Needham

    Sending my deepest heartfelt condolences.
    Wishing you peace and strength in the days ahead.

    Jan (Isbell) Needham

  10. Don & Lynette Lee

    Lois,Ann,Buck and family
    Don and I send our deepest condolences to you and your family.

  11. Lisa Buck

    Dear Lois, Ann and Buck, I’m very grateful I had the opportunity to help Bob in his latter years. I’ll never forget when he would hide from us, the caretakers!!! He thought we were absolutely unnecessary and that’s that!! We found him all over on the property, the little scheister, lol. Peace and love to all.

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